kalle2
Contributor
Contributor

Fusion 12 Pro on MacPro 5.1 not working

Hello,

has anybody tried or running Fusion 12 Pro on a Mac Pro 5.1 (cMP5.1)?

I installed Big Sur on my cMP5.1 and therefore had to use Fusion 12 Pro, but when I want to start a VM Fusion says the "CPU does not support XSAVE" and prohibits the start of the VM (no matter if it is Windows, Linux or macOS as guest). The CPU is a Xeon X5690 (2x). 

Before I was running Catalina with Fusion 11.5.6 and everything worked! Does anybody has experience with it?

Screenshot is below (in German)!

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20 Replies
scott28tt
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

@kalle2 

No idea when that Mac was released, but you should check this: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2005196

 

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wila
Leadership
Leadership

Hi,

I don't think it is going to work.
See also this thread:
https://communities.vmware.com/t5/VMware-Fusion-Discussions/VMX-option-to-disable-use-of-XSAVE-instr...

Now.. there's always a small chance that VMware is going to fix this.
As it is they have just fixed an issue for running nested VM's on Big Sur.. so who knows.

FWIW that update -fixing nested on BS- is expected to be released later today (end of the day PST), so I would certainly give it another try on Fusion 12.1

But, don't have your hopes up too high.

--
Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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kalle2
Contributor
Contributor

Hello @scott28tt,

if you read the system requirements provided in the link by you, there is written: 

  • All Macs launched in 2012 or later are supported except for the following:
    2012 Mac Pro Quad Core using the Intel® Xeon® W3565 Processor.

My Mac Pro 5.1 is from 2012, and the CPU's are 2x X5690 (6-core), so I read from this that my MacPro5.1 will be supported by Fusion 12. In the German version of the system requirements is the same text.

So there is something wrong with the docs?

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wila
Leadership
Leadership

Hi,

I'm not Scott, but my guess is "most likely something wrong with the docs" on this. ( @Mikero can you get this fixed, once you're back from PTO? )

With Big Sur, VMware Fusion is now using apple's Hypervisor Framework and that means details on CPU dependencies have changed.

FWIW, Fusion 12.1 is just out ( https://vmware.com/go/getfusion )

and I'm not seeing anything in the release notes about this, but you might still be lucky.

Worth a shot.
--
Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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kalle2
Contributor
Contributor

Hello @wila,

updating to Fusion 12.1 did not change anything, so there will be no way to get Fusion 12 working on cMP5.1 !?

Think I should change to Parallels 16, the test version is at least working ....

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wila
Leadership
Leadership

Hi,

Sadly only VMware can tell you.
The only thing I can say is that if the new version does not work on your MacPro 5.1 then I suspect that support won't be added back.
So -yes- I think that your best bet at the moment is Parallels if you still want to continue using that host for virtual machines (and I don't see why you wouldn't)

--
Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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bluefirestorm
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

The Mac Pro 5.1 is not supported for both macOS Catalina and Big Sur by Apple. For the Mac Pro line, only the trash can (2013) and cheese grater (2019) are supported. In a roundabout way, Fusion 12.x is not supported for it as it supports either Catalina or Big Sur as the macOS host OS.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210222
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211238
https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2088571

You could switch to Parallels 16 but there is no telling what other problems you will encounter there.

The XSAVE instruction was introduced with the Sandy Bridge generation of CPUs; the Xeon X5690 (Westmere) is one generation behind. Even for Big Sur OS, it looks like the Mac models with Sandy Bridge CPUs are no longer supported (2012 and earlier models are absent from the list).

kalle2
Contributor
Contributor

Hello @bluefirestorm , @wila , @scott28tt ,

as I mentioned in the discussion

https://communities.vmware.com/t5/VMware-Fusion-Discussions/VMX-option-to-disable-use-of-XSAVE-instr...

the test version of Parallels 16 does work on my cMP5.1 / Big Sur combination without installing kext's , so for me it seems that there is a way to run VM's on this host with the Apple hypervisor / system extensions ... 

Fusion 12.1 still has the same issue with XSAVE, so VMWare won't change that anymore !? ...

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dlhotka
Champion
Champion

Given that the OS itself isn't supported, and requires actions that be technical violations of Apples EULA, I wouldn't count on it.  The Mac Pro 5,1 is ten years old at this point.  Probably time to upgrade.

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Pete248
Contributor
Contributor

The Mac Pro 5,1 is ten years old at this point.  Probably time to upgrade.

Bad Timing! Who wants to invest a ton of money into a new Mac Pro with Intel CPU now that Apple is in the progress of switching to Apple Silicone.  At least the wheels might keep their value if Apple sticks to the case design. 😏

My Mac Pro 5,1 with PCIe SSD and Radeon RX 580 gpu runs circles around most iMacs except the lastest iMac Pros and Mac Pros and runs my important apps perfectly with Big Sur with the exception of VMWare Fusion. No need for an urgent upgrade.

My trial of Parallels ends in 8 days and as there is no sign from VMWare to work on a solution I'll make the switch.

 

 

themotoman
Contributor
Contributor

Your website and documentation says it should work.  I am running a 2012 Mac Pro with 2 x 3.46 Xeon x5690 CPUs.  I have also tried this on a single CPU Mac Pro of the same vintage.  It was working properly on the same Mac Pro running 10.15 (Catalina) and when I upgraded to Big Sur, it started giving me that error.  I saw somewhere else that is because VMware is using the VM API that is in BS.  If this is so, we need a config file switch to allow Fusion to use the old VM API, just like it does on Catalina.  

 

themotoman_0-1616536162569.png

 

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themotoman
Contributor
Contributor

Champion, that is not really for you to decide.  There is a very, very large contingent of Mac Pro users that are running the 2009-2012 models.  Upgraded to 2 x 3.46 GHz CPUs, NVMe drives, the latest and great GPUs also bolt-up and run.  These will outperform the 2013 trashcan model Mac Pro.  They can boot native Windows and Linux and with the help of OpenCore, boot all of the macOS versions, including Big Sur.

BTW, Fusion 12 on Catalina with these Mac Pros runs great.  All we need is a custom config switch to instruct Fusion to not use the new Apple VM API, just like it does on Catalina.

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Technogeezer
Expert
Expert

> BTW, Fusion 12 on Catalina with these Mac Pros runs great.  All we need is a custom config switch to instruct Fusion to not use the new
> Apple VM API, just like it does on Catalina.

@themotoman unfortunately that ship has sailed. VMware has made the architectural decision to remove kernel extensions from the product and use Apple's hypervisor framework in step with Apple's directions. There's good, bad and ugly that goes along with that decision, but it's been made (and in retrospect was a necessary step as they move to Apple Silicon support). It's unlikely that VMware will provide a "custom config switch" to go back to using kexts.

Also your post begs the question - how are you running Catalina on pre-2013 Mac Pros? While using a hack to trick it into installing may make it work for you, there's a big difference between "it runs great" and "it can be supported".   The assumption by almost all software vendors is that you are starting from a hardware/software configuration that's supportable by the manufacturer.  I don't believe VMware or Parallels to be any different in this respect.

To be fair, the advantage that Parallels 16 seems to have over Fusion 12 is that it will run on older macOS versions that Apple says will support those pre-2013 Mac Pros. There's no indication though that they will officially support their software on hacked installs of macOS (or as I like to refer to them as "franken-Macs"). Might work, might not, and good luck if you have issues.

(I'm not a VMware employee, but I've worked on both sides of the vendor/customer fence. Unsupported configurations that "work" always come back to bite you in the behind regardless of which side of that fence you're on).

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themotoman
Contributor
Contributor

Techno,

Look at my previous post that shows the screen shot documentation for Fusion 12 and that it is supporting 2012 Mac Pros with Catalina and Big Sur.

Also, like I said, VMware 12 is running on the Mac Pro under Catalina.  That means the kext code is in the product...the same product that doesn't run on Big Sur, so don't give me that ship has sailed line. It is a simple OS check and then activate the kext code that is already there for Catalina.

I'm a software engineer of 30+ years and I know what it means to support multiple platforms, multiple architectures, and multiple OSs.  The fact the kext code is in the shipping product is the kicker.

BTW, Catalina and Big Sur will boot on a 2012 Mac Pro by simply editing the OS boot parameters to ignore compatibility check. It's that easy to make it run.  Updates are another story, but this is another example of planned obsolescence on Apple's part.

Oh, one more thing.  There are 20.7K members of the Mac Pro Upgrade Group on Facebook, who are using these Mac Pros for everything from hobbyists to full blown video editors for their jobs.  These are not toys.

 

themotoman_0-1616546041080.png

 

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Technogeezer
Expert
Expert

I understand what it says. But I look at Apple's documentation first on what hardware is supported by Catalina and Big Sur.

Vmware's documentation has been somewhat less than accurate lately from my experience. Witness the confusion on whether they support Fusion 12 with Big Sur on M1 Macs for example.

Reading through the tea leaves makes me pessimistic that VMware will change course on Big Sur.

I understand the ask - but without being both an Apple kernel engineer and a VMware hypervisor developer, I would not assume that the Catalina kexts will work on Big Sur.  We all know that Apple changes things under the hood between macOS releases and It breaks stuff, and past versions of Fusion kexts have had to be updated as result of those changes. It looks to me like VMware has made a product direction decision to not put further engineering work into kexts for Big Sur. 

Yes it's frustrating - especially since Parallels allows you to choose which hypervisor to choose. Sounds to me like VMware is going full speed ahead on the new Apple hypervisor framework for Big Sur and getting ahead of Apple's announcement that eventually will removes kexts.

While there may indeed be a lot of people from hobbyists to professionals using these hacks to get those Mac Pros working with later macOS releases, it does not change the fact that Apple will not support that old Mac Pro hardware with Catalina or Big Sur. If it works for you, and others that's fine. But I wouldn't assume that VMware feels the same way about it - hypervisors have hooks into the OS that might need to have a response by Apple if something goes wrong. I shudder to think what the response will be if VMware sent Apple a problem report on what they consider to be an unsupported configuration. 

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kalle2
Contributor
Contributor

Hello @Technogeezer ,

as I and some other guys already mentioned, Parallels allows to select the Apple hypervisor on Big Sur on a cMP51 and it works, so the Apple hypervisor is not the limiting factor.

So why isn't it possible for VMWare to do the same and support older CPU's?

Technogeezer
Expert
Expert

There's an interesting tidbit from Apple's macOS EULA in Section 2 Permitted License Uses and Restrictions :

  • D. System Requirements; Apple ID. Please note that the Apple Software is supported on only Apple- branded hardware that meets specified system requirements as indicated by Apple. In addition, use of and access to certain features of the Apple Software and certain Services (as defined in Section 6) may require you to apply for a unique user name and password combination, known as an Apple ID.

Since Apple does not list Mac Pros prior to the 2013 version as supporting Big Sur, it is technically a breach of the licensing agreement to run Big Sur on older hardware. Whether it works or not.

VMware's behavior in the past has been to not allow things prohibited by Apple's EULA. As an example, they have specifically called out macOS versions and "editions" that are supported for use as guest operating systems based on Apple's licensing. I wonder if this is partially the reason why there doesn't seem to be an appetite for VMware to "do the same".

The "Apple hypervisor" is a misnomer. macOS provides a hypervisor framework that allows a virtualization vendor to write code without using kexts that creates and manages virtual machines, handles "traps" for privileged operations and provides virtual devices.  That code is unique to each vendor.  Parallels has likely written code that has different dependencies and architectural decisions than VMware does. So Parallels has shown that it's possible. But VMware looks like they've chosen not to do it the same way. 

Arbitrary decision? Could be - but without all the details on "why" it's tough to make a call one way or the other.

Hurts some users? Yes. That leads to a decision point to switch to Parallels if you can't do what you want with Fusion. 

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themotoman
Contributor
Contributor

Technogeezer,

We can debate this all day long as to whether VMware did this purpose and if they are going to change the software to accommodate classic Mac Pro users (cMP).

I still stand by my original premise:

  1. Their documentation is wrong on their site (it explicitly says 2012 Mac Pro) in at least two places
  2. They were supporting us in Catalina
  3. It is feasible to make the software work (Parallels is supporting the new VM Framework (no kext) on Big Sur and cMP)

Lastly, you seem very adamant to not want to support the classic Mac Pro community.  I'm sorry you feel that way.  It is no skin off your teeth, so why not vote in favor of a great bunch of users taking advantage of the hardware they bought with their hard-earned money? 

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dlhotka
Champion
Champion

And Big Sur will be the end of the line anyway.  No kext's on the next OS revision.

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